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UK-wide service will 'transform library collaboration'

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Jisc, the digital solutions provider for UK education and research, has announced that OCLC, the global library cooperative, has been awarded the contract to develop a new National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK).

The NBK, originally proposed in Jisc’s National Monograph Strategy, will support the learning and research needs of the UK higher education community. The aim of the project is to extend the capabilities of the current Copac service by investing in technology that can ingest diverse library data at higher speed and greater volume. The new service is aimed at enabling a shift in the way that libraries manage their print and digital collections and in the ways that people access those resources.

'This exciting collaborative partnership is an important part of building a national digital library for the UK,' said Neil Grindley, head of resource discovery at Jisc. 'The NBK will be a genuine knowledge base combining information from various sources to tackle the collection management challenges facing UK academic institutions.

'The building of this system will be a shared community endeavour. We are working closely with RLUK, SCONUL, The British Library, individual representatives from academic libraries, publishers, licensing organisations and service providers to try and really think through how to realise transformational change.'

Neil Wilson, head of collection metadata at The British Library, commented on their involvement: 'With its aim of combining new technology, rich metadata assets and the collective experience of leading library community members, the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase fits perfectly with The British Library’s strategic objectives for effective collaboration.' 

The library community is grappling with two core challenges as budgets come under threat. Firstly, the need to make important decisions about the ongoing management of their print and digital book collections, and secondly to ensure that researchers and learners have sustainable and convenient access to digital books.

The NBK is regarded as a key element in the delivery against these issues, providing a source of information that libraries can confidently rely upon when making decisions about the future of the resources that they manage and make accessible.
Supported by WorldCat, the world’s largest aggregation of library data, the project will start immediately, with launch of a beta service projected in January 2018.

Eric van Lubeek, vice president and managing director for OCLC, EMEA and APAC, said: 'We are simply delighted to be partnering with Jisc for the development of the NBK. We know the importance of this project to UK academia and will seek to engage the whole community. This change will increase the quality and comprehensiveness of information across the whole UK bibliographic ecosystem.'